In the coming years, millions of workers will see their jobs change as a result of artificial intelligence technologies. This fall, Amazon will open its second cashier-less store in downtown Seattle, providing a powerful visual demonstration of the economic change being created by smart technology. Administrative assistants are already the fastest-declining occupation in Canada, and AI-based assistants will accelerate their disappearance. The same goes for call centre workers as chat bots take over more of their duties.
AI will create new jobs, but these positions will demand different skills from those that have vanished, and the ability to seize these new opportunities won’t be evenly distributed among the workforce. People in marginalized groups face some of the biggest challenges in adapting, as these workers are most likely to lack the awareness, opportunity or means to change careers.
There is, therefore, an urgent need to help these workers reskill for the new economy.
Accenture researchers summarized the support these vulnerable populations will need in a recently released report, New Skills Now: Inclusion in the Digital Economy.
The report calls for particular attention to be paid to vulnerable groups, with help to pivot workers toward automation-resilient jobs in high-growth occupations. It also highlights the need for a broad approach that not only provides technical retraining to low- and middle-skilled workers but also equips them with the soft skills and mindsets to be successful in the long term.
It identifies six categories of skills that workers will need to succeed in the new digital age:
The following three program design principles are essential for tackling the new challenges of the digital age:
Companies and workers must act collaboratively to develop new ways to teach and learn for a more inclusive future. Companies that embrace the three factors above into their workforce programs can drive a culture where every member of society is prepared and can participate in the digital economy.
There’s much to be done in navigating the changing world of work. Responsibility lies with employers and employees to move toward automation-resilient jobs. We all need to champion the change and contribute to the future workforce.